Calder Freeway

Ms HUTCHINS (Minister for Local Government) — Tragedy struck in my electorate last Friday, 17 March, when a tip truck and dog collided with four other cars. In fact the truck drove straight over the top of one car on the inbound section of the Calder Freeway near Kings Road and Taylors Road. Kari-Pekka Maunus, a 49-year-old family man and father of six, had his life taken away way too early. The family are now struggling to come to terms with this tragedy.

Ironically on the same day I had a meeting scheduled and met with the Calder Action Group to talk about the importance of investing in the safety and expansion of the Calder Freeway. The action group is comprised of passionate residents along the Calder Freeway, including many from my electorate. Currently Calder Park Drive intersects directly with the Calder Freeway, with just a small merging lane. Unfortunately much traffic backs up along there. A new overpass is urgently needed to improve safety and address the area’s rapid growth.

The Calder Freeway is a vital link between Melbourne and Bendigo, and it supports many daily commuters going to and from work between Melbourne and Bendigo. In Sydenham we have a lot of road projects underway, but this is one that we need to turn our focus to. Historically projects of this size receive both state and federal funding. It would be great if the federal government could get on board with building this.